If it’s brown, it’s down!
Maine’s 2021 hunting season resulted in plenty of overstuffed deep freezers, according to the new report from Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW).
Maine hunters bagged 21,697 whitetail bucks and 11,066 whitetail does in 2021, according to MDIFW. Another 3,313 adolescent males and 2,871 adolescent females were tagged.
Archers accounted for 3,124 adult deer and muzzleloaders took down 1,595, while the vast majority were dropped with regular firearms: 33,177.
According to the results of a survey MDIFW sends out to hunting license holders, Maine hunters reported spending more than 7 days hunting for nearly 5 hours at a go. The survey also asked hunters, for the first time, whether they saw any bucks mounting does and whether they used deer calls, scents, tree stands, or natural lures.
The report also shows great success for those hunting the whitetail’s larger cousin, the moose, with 735 mature bulls winding up in parchment paper.
The biggest bull of the 2021 season weighed in at 1,038 pounds fully dressed. The state’s biologists think he was about 7.5 years old when he succumbed to acute lead poisoning. The largest antler spread tagged in the season was 65 inches with 20 legal points.
MDIFW says 3,548 Mainers won permits to hunt moose last year, while 314 people from away got the honor, coming from 39 states and as far away as Alaska. 62 lodge owners received permits.
Maine’s black bear hunting season runs from the last Monday in August to the last Saturday in November, with additional restrictions on when hunters can use bait sites, traps, and dogs. Although the state biologists expected a less successful bear hunt in 2021 due to high levels of natural food, the total number of bagged bears came in at 3,779 — just shy of 2020’s record harvest of 3,883 bears.
The biologists say the bears should blame the pandemic for the increased harvest, as cabin fever drove New Englanders into the woods looking for something to do, like shoot a bear. Two-thirds of the total harvest were taken over bait sites, while 25 percent of bear hunters used trained canines. The report says hunters using bait or dogs tend to have the most success.
The bear hunt was mostly a flatlander affair, with 2,330 non-residents filling their tag and just 1,448 residents doing the same.
The MDIFW report also showed a mediocre trapping season, with fur slingers in the state reporting the trapping of 5,325 beaver, 354 bobcat, 1,158 coyote, 570 fisher cat, 411 red fox, 141 gray fox, 395 pine marten, 243 mink, and 582 otter. Only the otter and bobcat numbers are higher than the ten-year average.
Maine’s 2022 spring turkey hunt took down a record 7,081 of the menacing birds.
You can read the 69-page report for yourself here.